In 2016, CADRE published the nine-year national average special education mediation agreement rate of 69%. Wisconsin (one of the four exemplar programs identified by CADRE) has a nine-year average mediation agreement of 88% - 19% higher than the national average – with some years over 90%. We will discuss various reasons we see for this higher rate – including the screening and convening process; pre-mediation work by both the system administrator and the mediators; party participation, autonomy and freedom of choice in the selection of the mediator; involvement of the student in mediation sessions, and overall process design focusing on satisfaction in both process and outcome. We will examine the seven factors we look for in our mediator selection process and share data from our post-mediation surveys from the last 17 years completed by participants in the process – including families, districts, attorneys, and family advocates, as well as the mediators. These contexts will focus the hot topic group discussion on whether high agreement rates equal high satisfaction rates and better outcomes for parties in mediation.
Restoring Focus on the Child: CADRE’s Seventh National Symposium